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Geographical Index > United States > Michigan > Schoolcraft County > Report # 31025
 
Report # 31025  (Class A)
Submitted by witness on Tuesday, November 08, 2011.
Close encounter by a hunter tracking his dogs at night outside the Seney National Wildlife Refuge
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YEAR: 2010

SEASON: Summer

MONTH: August

STATE: Michigan

COUNTY: Schoolcraft County

LOCATION DETAILS: 28 miles north of Manistique off Hwy 94

NEAREST TOWN: Boot Lake/ Shingleton

NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 94

OBSERVED: My son-in-law and I were hunting across from Clear Lake a few miles off Hwy 94 next to Green Lake. We were running our hounds on coon that night. There is a lot of country past Green Lake up into the Hickey Marsh and eventually the Seney. I had noticed partridge remains where we parked. I didn't think about. The hounds were gamey right out of the box. I cut a young hound and proven hound in. Both with a lot of grit. When they struck I had the feeling we weren't running coon but rather a bobcat. It took about twenty minutes and they treed. We proceeded into the dogs and right before the tree the critter bailed. Cats bail when they see lights like bear do at night when we run them. The dogs pulled tree and gave chase again. Treeing deeper. Way deeper. My son-in-law went to the truck to holler me out if needed. I kept the the tracker with me. I'm now in marsh with a mixture of spruce, cedar, bog and popple. The dogs treed deep. I went to a high spot to vantage my hearing on them. A thick wooded ridge. My radio tracker could barely read them and barely read the extra collar at the truck. Its range in wooded areas is about 7 miles. I kept swinging it around slowly trying to gain a good reading. I could smell something foul but thought it was myself after falling in swamp muck on more than one occasion. Again while swinging my tracker my coonlight in the direction of the antenna I noticed in the spruce a set of eyes next to the deer run on this ridge. Coon hunting you see a lot of different eye shine. I shrugged and swung the tracker, when I swung back into the trail toward the truck the trail was filled with animal twenty feet in front of me. It was around 8 feet tall long arms with fingers, barrel chested and pot bellied. The eyes were close and deep set but aggressive in its gaze, the mouth was agap. My goodness the ears were small. I froze in my tracks, I lost my training of the hounds call. We just looked at each other frozen. It grabbed a very large spruce, wrapping its hand around it. Its hair was black to brown not long, not short, the nose flat, with a face not covered in hair like its body. I really don't remember how it left. I remember the smell followed me almost all the way to the truck just up a trail where my son-in-law met me. He commented I passed gas jokingly. I was very shaken. I had a hard time reading my tracking system on the way back, I doubted my compass. It wasn't the straightest path back. To this day I haven't ran the hounds up there for or or bear since. As well it was the only time I left my hounds in the woods. In the morning after sleeping a bit I rode up {nervous as hell } to try and find the hounds by myself as my son in law went to work. Thank the lord they were treed in the beechwoods 30 feet off the gravel road with the prettiest sleeping bobcat you ever seen in the tree.

ALSO NOTICED: I have hunted bear, bobcat coon with my hounds, I am a trapper and outdoorsman. My church is the timber. I had a legally owned pet bear. I truly understand ol ursus americanus. This wasn't ursus.

OTHER WITNESSES: 1

OTHER STORIES: Not in this area. But back in the mid ninties we had a couple hounds chased back to truck by something and they were seasoned, had been under many a moody bear. That was up off the river road and the cc bridge in Schoolcraft county.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: 1:00 am

ENVIRONMENT: hardwoods that crept into marsh and conifers


Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:

I spoke with this experienced hunter at length. He hunts often and even takes his dogs with him all over the country when he is on the road working in construction, making his home in the UP of Michigan.

Just before the sighting he was a bit nervous, where he was is not where one would want to lose oneself or your dogs. This area in the UP is well-known for large areas of nothing but wilderness.

He blamed the sweet, musky smell on himself, having gone through and fallen in peat bog muck. With the 24-volt white belt light on his head, the reddish silver eyeshine is what he first noticed. In addition to his description he added that it had a "mountain beard" and "the coat looked like that of a summer bear, brown-black with some blond." Shoulders and inside its thighs were darker in color. He noticed some skin and less hair under the eyes, along its sides and near the armpits.

I asked him about the aggressive eye contact and he said it was looking at him with the expression of "what are you doing out here?" He stated that he didn't remember how it left, but he does recall that it went down, possibly stepping downward and out of his light.

His son-in-law waiting at the truck by the boat launch was a bit shook up also, especially after asking if he had hollered back. He had not.

They have had possible Class B encounters while hunting with their dogs. He explained that the first hunter back at the truck will often holler to help the ones still in the woods find their way back. The responses they receive are not always by fellow hunters. He also described to me that when they have a raccoon treed they will often tap the tree to get the coon to look in their direction so they can locate the coon by the eyeshine. On occasion they have heard a "pop pop pop" in response to their taps. I asked him what he thought at those times. He explained that after spending that much time in the woods and experiencing everything he has, one just knows.

This witness was between the Hiawatha National Forest and the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.


About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:

  • Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
  • An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort, currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
  • Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
  • Attended numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
  • She and the Florida BFRO group organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
  • She and the Michigan BFRO group organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011 and Michigan UP Expedition 2012.



 
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